Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

Infectious Diseases

March 15th, 2017

Keen Eye and Quick Action Save Rochester Mom From Life-Threatening Infection

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

When Heather Spaniol contracted the severe skin infection necrotizing fasciitis, an immediate and expert response was required to save her life. Since then, a blend of traditional and complementary therapies has bolstered her recovery.

When Heather Spaniol woke up from the first of many surgeries to rid her body of a life-threatening infection that was decimating her tissues, the gratitude she felt toward the Mayo Clinic surgeons who’d saved her life was so strong, she didn’t even register how much trauma her body had sustained.

“I think I was in shock. I was like, ‘You’re all so great! I just appreciate everything you’re doing. It’s fine,’” says Heather, a mother of two from Rochester, Minnesota. It was June 2014, and she'd lost a major nerve and most of her right shoulder muscle, in addition to epidermal tissue on the back and front of her right side, to necrotizing fasciitis.

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Tags: Cupping, Dr Daniel Price, Dr Mark Enzler, Hyperbaric oxygen chamber, Infectious Disease, Nectrotizing fasciitis, otolaryngology


November 21st, 2016

Complex Diagnosis Reshapes a College Student’s Future

By SharingMayoClinic SharingMayoClinic

Plagued by debilitating symptoms, Reilly Steidle turned to Mayo Clinic. A comprehensive evaluation revealed a range of challenging but manageable issues, and gave Reilly a new outlook.When Reilly Steidle came to Mayo Clinic in the summer of 2013 at the age of 20, she brought with her two rolling suitcases full of medical paperwork and a hope that the physicians could make sense of the recurring headaches, chronic fatigue and widespread pain she’d been dealing with for two years.

Reilly had been a healthy college student majoring in business at Northern Illinois University in the fall of 2011. But by the end of the school year, the Plainfield, Illinois, resident had dropped out, debilitated by her mysterious symptoms. Reilly spent the summer of 2012 visiting doctors.

When no one could decipher her symptoms, she decided to try another approach. Reilly went to a chiropractor, who asked to see her MRI images. After looking at them, the chiropractor urged Reilly to get an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test, confirmed by a Western blot test, to check for Lyme disease. Reilly did so, and on her 19th birthday, she received the news that the test results were positive.

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Tags: Center for Sleep Medicine, Dr Maja Tippmann-Peikert, Lyme Disease, Neurology & Neurosurgery, POTS, Transfusion Medicine


January 23rd, 2012

Investigating Mysterious Symptoms and Naming the Culprit

By Makala Arce MakalaArce

Cindy WMy name is Cindy W. I was recently seen by Dr. Randall Edson in the Mayo Clinic Infectious Disease Department. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Edson! He spent 2 hours with me listening to all the details of how I had been sick for the past year. He is kind and affirming. I have never had a doctor in my lifetime ever listen to me in that way.

He is warm and caring. When he made his diagnosis he looked up information on the computer and showed me in great detail what he believed had happened to me, how it happened and what the treatment needed to be.

I also saw two dermatologists that day and they were equally kind and affirming.

At the end of the day, Dr. Edson telephoned me to see if I had any more questions, how I was doing and again had kind words for me. Doctors don't just call to see if you have questions or concerns - this was beyond my imagination that he would call me just to make sure I was ok.

Over the past nine months I had seen about eight different doctors for this problem, including other infectious disease specialists, and none of those doctors had a correct diagnosis for me. Some doubted that there was anything at all wrong with me. Dr. Edson told me what was wrong and immediately there was an explanation for all my symptoms.

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Tags: Cindy W., culprit, Infectious Disease, Matthew Clark PhD, mysterious, Randall Edson, symptom


October 17th, 2011

Suzanne Vela: The Flu Shot Could Save Your Life

By Susana Shephard susanashephard

In mid-February, 2011, flu-like symptoms caused Suzanne Vela to leave work early to try to recover quickly from fatigue and a persistent cough. Several days of rest at home did not seem to improve her symptoms and Javier Vela, Suzanne's husband, decided to take her to the Mayo Clinic Hospital Emergency department on February 14th.

Their decision to seek urgent care could not have been any more wise and timely since shortly after being admitted to the hospital, Suzanne went into respiratory arrest and was placed on life support for two weeks. After undergoing several tests and procedures, the team of Mayo Clinic physicians caring for Suzanne, including Dr. Kenneth Mishark and Dr. Andrea Loiselle, diagnosed her condition as acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tags: acute respiratory distress syndrome, ARDS, Arizona, flu shot, influenza, influenza shot, Matthew Clark PhD, patient story


January 19th, 2011

“New Year, New Skin, New Leg”

By Makala Arce MakalaArce

When Brenda M. woke up with flu-like symptoms in August 2007, she had no idea just how grave her condition was. Later in the day she noticed discoloration and severe pain in her right leg. By that afternoon, Brenda entered the emergency room where her health continued to decline. Doctors at Mayo Clinic worked incessantly to keep her alive through the night. She was diagnosed with an extremely rare blood infection and was given a 5 percent chance of survival.

Brenda began to improve with the help of medication. However, the infection had caused a great deal of damage to her right leg, and several months later, it was amputated below the knee. Though her road to recovery has been a long one, Brenda remains optimistic and eager to face the future. She is hoping to complete her skin graft treatments and begin the process of receiving a prosthetic in the upcoming year. Referring to this process, Brenda has adopted a motto for 2011: “New year, new skin, new leg.”

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Tags: Amputation, amputee, blood, Brenda, infection, leg, Matthew Clark PhD, new, recovery, skin, year


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